*Living World - Ecosystems and Tropical Rainforests (Paper 1) Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in *Living World - Ecosystems and Tropical Rainforests (Paper 1) Deck (48)
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Define 'ecosystem'

A natural system made up of plants and animals (biotic) that interact with non-living organisms such as soil, air and water (abiotic)


What is a producer?

An organism that uses the sun to produce energy. e.g. green plants


What is a consumer?

An organism that gets its energy by eating another organism i.e. it eats other producers or consumers.


What is a decomposer?

An organism that gets its energy from breaking down dead material (dead plants and animals). An example of a decomposer is bacteria and fungi


What is a food chain?

A food chain shows what eats what in an ecosystem.


What is a food web?

A food web is a series of food chains within an ecosystem and how they overlap.  It shows the interconnections between producers and consumers in an ecosystem.


Describe a nutrient cycle in simple terms

  • When plants and animals die, they decompose into the soil.
  • They add nutrients back to the soil
  • These nutrients are then taken back up by plants
  • These plants may be eaten by consumers, therefore the nutrients are received by the consumer
  • The consumer eventually dies and nutrients are added back to the soil.
  • The cycle repeats


Name some changes that can impact an ecosystem

  1. Extreme weather - e.g. droughts
  2. Trimming hedgerows
  3. Draining ponds
  4. Deforestation
  5. Fertilizers used in farming


What is eutrophication and what causes it?

The use of fertilizers on farms leads to eutrophication.

  1. Nutrients from fertilizers end up in water systems
  2. Plants grow quickly because of the nutrients
  3. Algae grows quickly, using up oxygen in water
  4. Plants and animals in water then die due to lack of oxygen
  5. Decomposing animals use further oxygen
  6. Eventually no life possible


Give an example of how one change can impact an ecosystem

  • Higher temperatures and less rain = less plants grow = less food for consumers = consumer numbers fall
  • Vegetation removed = less habitats for animals = alters animal/vegetation balance in ecosystem
  • Deforestation = destorys birds habitats and alters nutrient cycle


What determines the ecosystem found in a place?


Climate is influenced by: latitude, air pressure (high or low pressure) and winds.


Describe the characteristics of the tundra?

(location, climate, plants, animals?)

  • Location - high latitudes ~60°N
  • Cold temperatures
  • Little rainfall
  • Limited vegetation
  • Lots of permafrost


Name the 8 main global ecosystems

  1. Hot desert
  2. Tropical rainforest
  3. Polar
  4. Tundra
  5. Temperature deciduous forest
  6. Tropical grassland (savanna)
  7. Temperate grassland
  8. Coniderous forest (taiga)


Describe the characteristics of tropical rainforests?

(location, climate, plants, animals?)

  • Found around equator
  • Hot temperatures (around 28°-30°c)
  • Wet all year around (average 2,000mm per year)
  • Lots of vegetation
  • Variety of animals


Describe the characteristics of hot deserts?

(location, climate, plants, animals?)

  • Location: 15° and 35° north and south of the equator
  • Very hot
  • Very dry
  • Sandy soil.
  • Some cacti


Describe the characteristics of deciduous forests?

(location, climate, plants, animals?)

*This the biome of the UK*

  • Location; ~40°-50° north of equator
  • Warm summers, cold winters
  • Leaves fall off during winter to retain moisture
  • Variety of woodland animals


Describe the characteristics of coniferous forests (taiga)?

(location, climate, plants, animals?)

  • Location:~50°-60° north of equator
  • Cool temperatures
  • High rainfall
  • Animals: Moose, reindeer, shrews
  • Plants: evergreen trees


Describe the characteristics of tropical grassland (savanna)?

(location, climate, plants, animals?)

  • Location: 15°-30° north and south of equator
  • Wet and dry seasons
  • Temperature: 20-30°c
  • Animals: lions, elephants


Describe the characteristics of tundra?

(location, climate, plants, animals?)

  • Location: 60°-70° north equator (lack of land in southern hemisphere for tundra to be here)
  • Cold (Max 10°c, min -50°c)
  • Dry (less than 380mm pear year)
  • Limited vegetation
  • Animals: caribou


Where are tropical rainforests located?

Generally around the equator - South America, South East Asia, Central Africa.


Describe the climate in the tropical rainforest

  • Constantly high temperatures throughout the year (28-30°c)
  • High levels of rainfall (~2000mm per year)


Why is it hot and wet in the tropical rainforest?

  • Hot temperatures: Toprical rainforests are found around the equator where the suns rays are most concentrated 
  • High rainfall: low pressure cell means air can rise, creating lots of clouds


Describe the soil in the tropical rainforest

Infertile. Very top layer of soil is where nutrients are. Due to high levels of rainfall, nutrients are washed away (leaching).


Describe the plants and animal life in the tropical rainforest

Very diverse. Huge biodiversity. Range of plants, insects, reptiles, mammals and rodents.


What does 'biodiversity' mean?

The variety of plants and animal species in a given location


Give 3 examples of how the tropical rainforest is highly interdependent 

1.  Climate is warm and wet which makes it ideal for decomposition of leaf litter, adding nutrients to the soil which sustains dense vegetation

2. Plants are a vital source of animal food

3. Loss of vegetation in rainforests has a knock on impact on food supplies, habitats, water interception and the atmosphere


Name the four layers of the rainforest

  1. Shrub layer
  2. Lower canopy
  3. Upper canopy
  4. Emergent layer


Identify some tropical rainforest plant adaptations

  1. Liana
  2. Buttress roots
  3. Epiphyte
  4. Drip tips
  5. Waxy leaves


What is a buttress root?

  • Large tree roots that help stabilise the tree in the ground.
  • They also facilitate the exchange of oxygen and CO2.


What is a liana?

Climbing vines that start life on the forest floor. They grow upwards, around trees to reach sunlight.